11 Kitchen Things You Need to Clean ASAP
Deep cleans... they’re agonizing, but necessary—especially in the kitchen. If you’re not one of those people who takes joy in cleaning or finds a level of catharsis in the practice, chances are you put it off as long as possible. However, random appliances and other items perched on your kitchen counter and around the stove have started to accumulate a film of weird, greasy, sticky, grime, indicating that the time for a deep clean is upon you. The icky residue coating your kettle, utensil container, and other kitchen surfaces is a result of oil evaporating (yes, oil evaporates) into the air during cooking, and subsequently landing/coating whatever is around. Once this film starts to up on certain surfaces, you really only have two options: Start cleaning, or move.
I won’t sit here and tell you that a kitchen deep clean is a small feat to tackle— It’s not. It requires a good chunk of dedicated time; you’ll probably want to clear a Saturday or Sunday morning for the event.The stovetop, oven and refrigerator are the biggest appliances to start cleaning. However, there are a few other places in the kitchen that oftentimes are left behind, i.e. the walls—especially the wall or backsplash behind your stove, the cabinets, underneath the hood above the range, and the floors inside your pantry. Yes, it’s a lot to think about. As far as the cleansing agents go, you can utilize a few kitchen staples such as white distilled vinegar, baking powder, and lemons for a natural right. You can also go for your favorite store-bought, naturally derived cleaning products (like Mrs. Meyers or Method brand or ) or opt for harsher cleansers such as bleach, Pine Sol, Fabuloso, and the like. The alkaline power of good ol’ dish washing liquid, can also be tapped for its grease-fighting powers. As many of the tips below involve using a vinegar-water solution, it’s best to purchase a spray bottle to hold the mixture for easy use.
1. The Stovetop
Cleaning guru Isabel Theriot, suggests using Bon Ami, an organic powder cleanser. She uses a vinegar solution to moisten the powder and let’s it sit on the stovetop surface for 20 minutes. The product cuts through grease and hard-to-remove stains.
Get more details here on how to deep clean your stovetop.
2. The Oven
The oven has tough baked-on grime and stains that are best removed by spraying the whole thing with an oven-specific solution and letting it soak for a few hours or overnight. The downside here is that many store-bought oven cleaners are incredibly intense and will overpower your kitchen with an acidic smell. That said, they get the job done. If you take this route, be sure to open windows and doors when spraying the oven.
If you’d rather go natural, your method involves creating a paste with baking soda, vinegar, and sea salt to thickly coat the inside of your oven. After a light misting of water to activate all of the components, allow this mixture to set overnight. Remove the mixture the following morning with a damp cloth. (Disclaimer: It will take a few rounds to remove all of the baking soda residue left in the oven.)
Get more details here on how to deep clean your oven.
3. The Refrigerator
Empty out all the contents of your refrigerator and temporarily store them in a cooler. Throw out any old, moldy, and leftover foods you never ate. You can remove the bottom vegetable drawers for easier cleaning. The combination of dishwashing liquid and warm water is all you need to wipe down the interior glass and shelves. If you have a stainless steel exterior, you want to use a softer cloth and a gentle cleaner, such as Bar Keeper’s Friend, made specifically for stainless steel to wipe down the doors. Like wood, stainless steel has a grain and you want to clean in the direction of the grain. It will be either vertical or horizontal. To finish, dab your cloth in a little cooking oil or baby oil to wipe your doors with for a shiny finish.
4. The Microwave
Make a solution of equal parts water to vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in your microwave and heat the solution for about 8 to 10 minutes to create a steam that breaks down food splatters, allowing you to effortlessly wipe the inside of your microwave clean. Wash the glass tray and spindale separately.
5. The Dishwasher
You never really think about cleaning your dishwasher, because one would assume it sort of cleans itself every time you run it. Right? However, between food, grease, and harsh water, it can easily build up its own gunk over time (leaving it smelling funky). Your dishwasher actually has a filter that many people are unaware of. Depending on your manufacturer, you either have a manual removeable filter or a self-cleaning filter. If it’s manual, it will be placed at the bottom of your dishwasher. Remove with with a twist and leave it to soak in hot, soapy water, then wash away any stuck-on food. A dirty filter is typically the source of dishwasher funk.
Once the filter has been addressed, pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher and run the “heavy” cycle. Following that, coat the bottom with a layer of baking soda (about a cup) and let it sit overnight; run the “empty” cycle in the morning and you should be good to go.
6. The Pantry
The pantry houses most of our dried goods, canned goods, condiments, and spices. Go through every item in your pantry and throw out old and expired foods. Give your shelves a good wipe-down while you’re at it. Remove anything, such as your trash can or storage bins, from the bottom of the pantry, then sweep and mop the floor. You’ll be surprised by the amount of food debris that accumulates.
7. The Sink
Lightly rinse your sink with warm water, removing dishes and any food bits. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda and use a sponge to gently spread the powder all over the basin of the sink. With your vinegar solution, spray the sink, and use your sponge again to work in the vinegar. If you have a garbage disposal, drop a natural cleaning pod down the drain to clean and deodorize it.
8-10. The Cabinets, Counters, and Walls
The cabinets might need some serious elbow grease. Be mindful to dust the tops of your cabinet first, as this is one of the most common places in your kitchen that accumulates filth without you even knowing. Given that your cabinets may very well be made out of different material than mine or your neighbor’s, I can’t give a single, absolute answer for this one; you’ll want to use a cleaning product made specifically for your cabinets’ material.
In general, a common all-purpose cleaner should suffice; however, you can always use your trusty vinegar solution with a damp cloth, followed behind with a clean, dry cloth to soak up lingering wetness. You can use the same to give your walls, particularly those near the stove, a firm wipe-down. Spray the counters with whatever solution you prefer and scrub them well. Don’t forget the backsplash!
11. The Floor
The floor is your last step in deep cleaning any kitchen. Remove any rugs or kitchen mats. I give mine a shake outside to remove loose dirt, but you can also sweep/vacuum the dirt out and depending on the material (check the tag), you can often toss them in the washing machine. Sweep the entirety of the kitchen, getting behind the stove and refrigerator, if possible. After sweeping, break out your mop. The Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner is a great natural solution that works on multiple surfaces, including floors. I am definitely a Pine-Sol or Fabuloso girl, but again, everyone has different materials on their floors so use the cleaner the works best to maintain yours.
Now, after a very long and possibly grueling day of cleaning, don’t you dare go and cook anything. Order a pizza, pop open a bottle of wine, and Get. Your. Chill. On.